We love it when our team is in sync. Decision making seems easy. However, sometimes these great ideas don’t work so well in the field. It often helps to rotate the role of critical thinker and prevent the team from doing something dumb. Because there are times when people are so excited about an idea, they just go ahead and support it, without thinking through the consequences.
The pressure to conform is called groupthink. Groupthink can emerge when members of the team feel like skipping conflict and going along with the group’s momentum, and supporting an idea, even if it is a poor one.
There are numerous examples of this pressure resulting in bad decision making, even at the highest level of organizations. We won’t share any examples or name names here, because we don’t want to embarrass or humiliate anyone today.
There are many pressure points that cause groupthink. Here are few pressures to consider: Relying on poor information without questioning collection or credibility. Or members simply having an exaggerated sense of their own superiority. Or it could be the high status of some participants can influence silence. Also, time pressures can prevent creatively forming or critically examining ideas. Or it could be that old phenomena of peer pressure.
So, groupthink is the pressure to conform even if the group decision is a poor one. Just about everyone can fall prey to groupthink. Make sure it isn’t you and your organization.
It is important to review and evaluate the team’s performance, process, and product, so we don’t make the same mistakes, again, and again.
I am always surprised, that people would rather skip a few minutes of conflict and the awkwardness of disagreement, but be completely fine living with a bad decision for the next several years. Please don’t let that happen to you and your team.
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